A Life Once Lost @ Club Europa

BROOKLYN, NY—The last time I saw A Life Once Lost was a year and a half ago at Asbury Lanes. It was their last show in New Jersey before an extensive European tour, after which they had plans to record another album. After that show, guitarist Doug Sabolick assured me that the new stuff was going to be more brutal than ever. We’re still waiting on the full-length, but if the new songs ALOL played were any indication, the guys are going to make good on Doug’s promise.

Being that it had been so long since the Philly-based groove metal act had played a local show (or any show) for that matter, I jumped at the chance to see them headline the Metal Sucks/Metal Injection/1000 Knives CMJ Showcase.

To my chagrin, I got caught in traffic on the way into Brooklyn and missed the opening band; a progressive metal act from Maine called Last Chance To Reason. I wasn’t ready to curse the traffic just yet, since I found a nice parking spot and still had plenty of time to catch up with friends whom I had not seen in a while. Several respected sources assured me that the band killed, so I’ll go with that.

I’ve been to Europa a few times before and the sound is always pretty good, so after hearing a few promising guitar chugs from the next act during their brief sound check, I decided to move from the bar closer to the stage.

The second band was This Or The Apocalypse, a metalcore outfit from Pennsylvania. I had heard some songs off of their full-length about a year ago and was pretty sure I didn’t like them, but as this was a friendly night, so I was willing to check them out. I’d like to say they were awful, but a number of people in the club seemed to be enjoying their choreographed headbanging, synchronized jogging in place, oh-so-predictable breakdowns and the general angsty vibe that they gave off, so I’m compelled to mention that some people liked them.

I ask that you please excuse the language I’m about to use, but the problem I had with TOTA’s set, aside from their performance and their music, was the class-A douchebag, karate-dancing kids who took this as their opportunity to clear out an unnecessarily large circle, stretching from the stage to the stairs in front of the bar, in which to flail wildly in all directions; fighting invisible ninjas, punching and kicking in front of and behind them. These motherfuckers have to die!

Several of them were easily (and I am not exaggerating here) pushing 300lbs. One of the blobs nearly kicked my $5 beer out of my hand, and if I wasn’t literally half their weight and afraid of getting punched in the face, I would have thrown down the fisticuffs then and there. Seriuosly, how am I supposed to protect myself from that? Note to all the karate-dancers out there: Stop fucking doing that! You’re not cool and nobody likes it.

Car Bomb were next. I have never seen them live, but I was afraid that, due to their hardcore leanings, I was going to have to protect myself from the Hutts again. Thankfully, just like on record, their music was so schizophrenic, deranged and fucked-up, that it rendered my oily-foes too confused to continue their violent bullshit. The band debuted a few new tunes to cap off a pretty terrific showing.

A Life Once Lost were quick to take the stage. And, either the blobs were tuckered out from their earlier production or afraid of a mutiny from the significantly denser crowd, as this time they stayed towards the middle of their circle and avoided the sides.

One thing I love about ALOL is the do-it-yourself lightshow they bring along with them. Several rows of strobe lights positioned behind the players silhouette the band during their set. It really adds to the chaotic atmosphere of songs like “Detest,” “Pain And Panic,” “Vulture”—actually, every one of their songs. They too, showed off a couple of new numbers; “Expressions Of Hate” and another the name of which escapes me. All you need to know is that it was glorious.

As good as the music was, the best part of the night was when vocalist Robert Meadows announced that the band had another area show planned. I nearly shat when I heard it, but they will be playing with Crowbar, Dec. 5 at Santos Party House. They’ve added a few more dates with the likes of Shadows Fall and Hatebreed that same month. Needless to say, I’ll be there—maybe in the fetal position, but there nonetheless.